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La Porte Verte Marans
20,Quai Foch.  Tel. 05 46 01 09 45

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..
It was September and my good friend Ron was here for a short holiday during the course of which he was celebrating his 60th birthday. To mark the occasion he chose to have lunch at La Porte Verte a restaurant in Marans that we had eaten at on a few occasions some time ago, it is in the Marais Poitevin but just outside of the Vendée. The restaurant sits on the edge of the Quai Foch bordering one of the larger canals which together with the river Sevre Niortaise make their way through Marans the nautical gateway to the Baie de l’Aiguillon.

We entered the small dining room, whose focal point was a large stone fireplace, and which also has some interesting artefacts and antique furniture. There were other diners and we were seated at our table in the corner of the room by Lydia the Chef’s wife and offered an aperitif while perusing the menu. Ron and I opted for a Ricard while Trevor had to make do with an orange juice as there was no non alcoholic beer or tonic water. I must confess that I had read the website incorrectly and was expecting three courses, namely entrée, plat and desert for
18, it turned out that the 18 menu offered a choice of entrée and plat or plat and desert. We ended up having the 27 menu which included cheese, but as none of us wanted cheese there was a reduction of 1.50. As we drank our aperitifs we were served an appetizer of Tuna Rillette with small round of toast, it was a tasty start and a welcome nibble as we sipped our aperitifs and chose our meals. There was I felt a limited choice of menu, not so much in the number of dishes necessarily but as an example the main courses offered two fish dishes, langoustines which had a 5 supplement, a chicken leg and beef’s tongue, which is an acquired taste. I would have been happier to have seen at least one straightforward meat dish such as pork or steak on the menu for those non piscivores. Both Ron and I chose the Foie Gras, followed by Monkfish finishing with Strawberries and Mascarpone. Trevor went for the Smoked Duck Breast Salad, followed by Red Mullet and finishing with the Strawberries. I chose a house red wine which was a 50cl pitcher of Cahors which was served extremely cold, too cold in fact to properly taste and which at 8 for a 50cl was I thought expensive.

The Entrées arrived and both Ron and I had a reasonably sized slice of foie gras which was served on an oblong piece of black slate with two rounds of toast, a small green salad and a small amount of confiture. It was very good and both Ron and I enjoyed it very much. Trevor’s duck was also delightful it was arranged vertically around a small mound of green salad and was accompanied with a small white fish that after some debate and consternation turned out to be anchovies, Trevor had no problem clearing his plate and his comment was that it was very tasty but as is often the case with Magret de Canard, he could have eaten more. Entrées over our main courses were served the monkfish was served on a bed of mashed potatoes and accompanied by chopped vegetables which were peppers, courgettes and mushrooms, in a beautifully light cream sauce. To be honest the monkfish was slightly overcooked for me, the mashed potatoes were creamy but lacked a bit in their seasoning, the vegetables were perfectly cooked and the sauce was a delight. Trevor’s red mullet was served with mashed potatoes, a confit of the same vegetables that we were served and an oil jus. His comment was that the fish was well cooked and the meal tasty and well balanced. We all finished off with the strawberries and mascarpone, it was a delicious desert served in a glass, there was a sponge base soaked in alcohol the strawberries which sat on top of the sponge had absorbed the liquor and was almost like a jam were  and it was all topped with mascarpone Chantilly, it was sweet and luxurious and highly calorific and we all loved it.

As it was Ron’s birthday we pushed the boat out and had a cognac, which at
8 a shot was all the money in my opinion, we also had large black coffee’s which were flavoured with some kind of nut, they were very good, Trevor’s large white coffee was served with hot milk.

When the bill arrived I have to admit that I was mildly shocked, OK we had pushed the boat out a bit as it was Ron’s birthday, but I wasn’t expecting it to be all but
50 per head. The restaurant is pleasant and the service was friendly and low key, but I’ve said before that I don’t mind paying as long as I feel that I’ve had value for money, this meal wasn’t in my opinion that. The Chef is obviously first rate, the food was well cooked and the tastes were in the main excellent and well balanced but when you consider that the main course was essentially fish and mashed potatoes, and that for anything slightly exotic you had to pay a premium in the form of a supplement, I can’t say that I thought the meal was worth it. We could have eaten at what I consider to be the best restaurant in the Vendée for the same money. Had we done so we would definitely have had a better meal for a similar price with a variety of mis en bouche to tantalise our palates and a far greater choice of food, and I’m afraid for that reason I cannot recommend this restaurant. Tate - 2011.

About the author: Tate spends the summers in the Vendee and is passionate about good wine and good food,he writes exclusively for the
The coping of this article is permitted as long as the complete article along with these credits are published.

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la Porte Verte Restaurant, Marans
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